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How Tipp-Ex Made the Most NSFW Viral Ad Ever

How do you get 7.2 million views in less than three weeks?

If you’re Bic, you take a chance and get NSFW (not-safe-for-work). Odds are that you’ve already taken part in the hunter vs. bear experience, but if not, click below and enjoy.


This was the most viewed YouTube video in the world for this month, most viewed video in France (ever), and has already reached #40 for all-time Youtube views – all in just six weeks. So what lessons can we learn from this wacky ad campaign?

#1) Don’t re-invent the wheel – improve it!

Many critics contend this was a blatant ripoff of Burger King’s landmark subservient chicken campaign years ago – yet the creators have acknowledged their inspiration publicly in blog comment and explained how they were actually creating something new (while paying homage). Nice move. Why spend a ton of resources trying to re-invent the wheel? Does anyone remember who made the first camera phone?

Marketing Lesson: Time and cost-wise, it often makes business sense to get inspired by something else and put your own spin on it.

#2) Interact in an unexpected way.

The reason this video is so “sticky” in our consciousness is because of the way it surprises us. After clicking either option (shoot/don’t shoot the bear), the viewer is directed to a second video where the hunter seemingly reaches outside of the screen to grab the Tipp-Ex product. It’s not until after he white-outs the screen that you realize that this is an entirely different user experience. All of a sudden, your role turns from passively watching into actively engaging.

Marketing Lesson: Enhance the customer/user experience with an unexpected twist.

#3) Give a reason to engage more than once.

Once the viewer starts playing with inserting different verbs, the game really takes off. The “easter egg” hunt for more and more hilarious videos becomes a conversation within the community – a “can you top this” where users try to find every single possible combination, and post their hints in the YouTube comments section. This means you can’t simply watch it once and be done with it. You pass it on, share your findings, and listen to other people talk about their experiences.

Marketing Lesson: Providing an air of discovery or mystery motivates the customer/user to revisit the entire process and engage with the community.

#4) Take chances – you can’t always please everyone.

The NSFW tag, according to some, is completely undeserved. There is no profanity, overt violence, or nudity in the video – all things we immediately associated with inappropriate for the office. There is some humorous off-color language used, but nothing you haven’t heard in elementary school. However, the tag makes it instantly appealing to the casual user: it is human nature to want to see something that is forbidden. This strategic move was absolutely intentional on the ad agency’s part, and turned out giving the whole campaign an extra boost.

You might be thinking that the global success of the Tipp-Ex experience would be extremely difficult to reproduce. Instead, ask yourself how you could start integrating these tactics into the overall customer experience.

So what kind of crazy viral ideas can you come up with?

Comments

  1. Ryan Says:

    This really is one of the smartest posts on internet marketing (and marketing in general). Everything else is just the same rehashed material that I just don’t see any new value in. But…

    I really like how you guys took something real and successful and analyzed the points worth noting. That’s how I learn and it’s SO the way to go.

    Giving reasons to reengage is my favorite take away, but it wasn’t easy picking a favorite by any means.

    Great post!

  2. admin Says:

    Thank you Ryan for your kind words!
    I’m glad that you enjoyed the post.

    -PL

  3. FELIX Says:

    Agree with Ryan – good thoughtful tips with a nice sense of opitmism rather than telling you how hard everything is.

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